Have you ever wondered if the trial you are going through is the result of the actions of another person, or if it is coming from the enemy of your soul? The devil wants you to focus on yourself.
Do you ever find yourself thinking things like this:
- “Did you see what he (she) just did concerning you? Are you going to put up with that?”
- “How many times have you told him (her) how much you don’t like that? Doesn’t he (she) care about you and how you feel about things?”
- “You really should just leave. That would show him (her/them). Just get up and walk out and don’t come back. Then he (she/they) will be sorry. He (she/they) don’t deserve to have you with him (her/them), the way he (she/they) act. This will show him (her/them)!”
- “He (she) just doesn’t know what marriage is supposed to be like. He (she) doesn’t treat you the way you ought to be treated. He (she) is out there or back there having a good time while you are here doing all the work! He (she) doesn’t appreciate you and all that you do. Maybe he (she) is having a good time with someone else while you sit here alone. You ought to snoop and find out. Or just come right out when he (she) returns and accuse him (her) and see what kind of reaction you get! Then you’ll know!”
- “The world would really be better off without a person like you. You have never fit in. You are never a success at anything. You cause problems everywhere you go. You should just find a way to end it all and be done with it.”
Any of these thoughts sound familiar? How do I know that you hear these thoughts at times? Because I know that the enemy of your soul is busy, busy, busy all the time planting these ungodly ideas in your head every opportunity he can get. That’s why we all hear the same old story from many different people. The common denominator in all the above statements is ‘you’. “Look how this affects me. Look how I am hurting or insulted or restricted, etc.”
Have you ever tried thinking once in a while as if you were the enemy? What would you do if you were in his shoes and wanted to bring you down or cause you a lot of trouble to discourage you from doing what is right? Sometimes this line of thought can help you see from another angle what is happening to you.
The enemy’s goal is to get you to focus on yourself, to feel sorry for yourself, and to become unable to see another person’s point of view, or what the real situation is. He wants you concerned for yourself and your own welfare at all times. He wants you to do everything you can to avoid suffering of any kind. He does not want you to take on the burdens of others. He does not want you to be self-sacrificing. He does not want you to put the needs of others above your own.
Now try thinking once in a while as if you were God. Would God plant these thoughts in someone who He is trying to encourage to be righteous and holy? Would He ever tell someone to whom He gave the gift of life to go end that life because he (she) is worthless?
Would He tell someone to think only of him (her) and have no regard for others? What if God treated us that way? What if He thought only to focus on Himself and just left us to suffer the just penalty for our sin against Him? What if He had refused to arrange the sacrifice of His only begotten Son so that we could be made free from the bondage of sin and the devil?
Finally, try thinking once in a while how what you do affects God. Would He act the way you just did? Would He accuse others of evil without a shred of evidence? Would He walk out and slam the door behind Him when someone said or did something He did not like? Would He be quick to put someone down and have a feeling of triumph that He had won and that person had lost? Would He blow His top if things didn’t go His way and then refuse to even apologize later? This all sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? You can’t imagine God acting in ways like this. Yet we do all the time and think nothing of it.
Rather than spending most of your efforts to focus on yourself, try taking the time to focus on God. You will find the effort is less and the results are greater and last for eternity.